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kipwinger

The State of the Central Division

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Minnesota will be tough. Im glad they arent in the central.

Question for you off the top of your head. Who is on the Wild's bottom 6 forwards and 3rd D pairing? No looking on their site either dude :hammer: time's up...NO ONE OF NOTE!

number9 and WingsAlways like this

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I cant name most teams' whole top line or 1st pairing. Setoguchi?

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Big shout out to RedWingsDad whose comment in another thread led me to create this one. Anyway, I thought rather than discussing free agency anymore, which I'm entirely sick of, why not talk about teams. Of course I realize that this will ultimately devolve into what coulda, shoulda, or woulda happened in free agency but oh well.

My thoughts...

Columbus: Actually got a little tougher to play against by adding depth at forward. Foligno, Dubinsky, and Anisimov will help. And between Murray, Johnson, Aucoin, and Wisniewski (if he's healthy) have a halfway decent defense corps. Still the worst team in the division by far, but will steal a few more games than they did last year.

Chicago: Same scary offense, defense is a little more solid with Brookbank, still glaringly bad in net. Even to slight improvement overall.

Nashville: Forward corps lost Radulov and Kostitsyn, neither of whom played most of last season and they were still a force in the division. Kept Gaustad which helps on the bottom end. Lost Suter, but still real good on defense with Weber, Gill, Josi, and Klein. Worse in goal after swapping Lindback for Mason. Slight to moderate regression from last year.

St. Louis: As good or slightly better on offense with a healthy Perron and Langenbrunner. No noticeable improvement on defense. And perhaps the best goalie tandem in the league. No large change, still very very good.

Detroit: No noticeable improvement on offense. Sammy for Hudler improvement offset by unknown quantities in Nyquist and Brunner, plus another year older for the core. Regression on defense. Improvement in goaltending. Overall substantial decrease.

Conclusion: St. Louis is the odds on favorite to win the division, with Detroit, Chicago, and Nashville all vying for the second through fourth spots. Overall, perhaps the most highly contested division in the NHL though probably not the best division.

My additions...

Columbus: Bobrovsky hasn't exactly been the second coming of Glenn Hall but has to be much better than Steve Mason. John Moore, Ryan Murray, and Erixon have some big upside to add in with Johnson, Wisniewski, Nikitin, and Aucoin. Ryan Johanson should be alot better and will almost certainly get more ice time. BJ's should roll out a much more balanced, tough, and deep lineup.

Nashville: Gabriel Bourque, Craig Smith, and Colin Wilson should get most of Kostitsyn and Radulov's (who didnt really even play much last year) ice time and have the potential to make Nashville's fans forget the latter ever existed. Ryan Ellis should get time on D now and is one heck of a hockey player.

Detroit: I hope Babcock gives Nyquist Hudler's ice time and calls it a day, I wouldnt expect to see a huge difference in output. That said, it's more likely to get spread out between Brunner, Nyquist, and Samuelsson. Missing Lidstrom, in my estimation, is going to devastate this team in more ways than we know. Who gets the point shot on the first PP...Sammy? I can already hear myself verbally abusing his every misguided shooting attempt. I can't even really think of another alternative because we have basically no one else that is either smart enough to make the right shot or has a good enough shot that could play that position. Our D might as well of lost three top-4 guys because Nick counts for two...our top 6 makes me nauseus. If Fil goes back to his norm and/or Dats or Z miss anytime, this could be the worst Wings season i've ever seen.

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Here's a little break down of Ken Hitchcock's coaching career...well the first part of it anyway. After one bad season with Philly he was sent to Columbus and nobody could have done anything with that organization. After reading this I'm convinced he only really ever had one bad season amidst a decade of success. I'm not really sure where this "his coaching philosophy isn't good long term" stuff comes from.

"In 1990, Hitchcock left the WHL and joined the Philadelphia Flyers as an assistant coach. Hitchcock spent three seasons with the Flyers organization before leaving to helm the Dallas Stars' IHL franchise, the Kalamazoo Wings, for the 1993–94 season.

In the middle of his third season with the team (then renamed the Michigan K-Wings), he was offered the head coaching position with the Dallas Stars and on January 8, 1996, he was named head coach, replacing Bob Gainey, who remained with the Stars as general manager. In his first full season with the Stars, he led the team to a first-place finish in the Central Division and a playoff berth. In his second full season with the Stars, Hitchcock again led the Stars to the playoffs, losing in the Conference Finals to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. Also during the 1997–98 season, Hitchcock was named to his first of three consecutive NHL All-Star Game teams as coach.

During the 1998–99 NHL season, Hitchcock led the Stars to a regular season record of 51–19–12 (0.695 winning percentage), a team best. In the playoffs, Hitchcock led the team to a Stanley Cup victory over the Buffalo Sabres, the team's first. The next season, Hitchcock again led the team to the Stanley Cup finals, only to lose to the New Jersey Devils.

In the 2000–01 season, Hitchcock again led the Stars to the playoffs, but exited early. Midway through the following season, after getting off to a mediocre 23–21–6 start and in the midst of strife between the players and management, Hitchcock was fired as head coach.

Hitchcock was quickly picked up in the off-season by his old team, the Philadelphia Flyers, who had just fired their coach, Bill Barber, after an early exit from the playoffs. Hitchcock brought much-needed discipline and direction to the Flyers and led them to a 45–24–13 record in his first season, losing in the Conference Semi-finals.

In Hitchcock's second season with the Flyers, the Flyers finished first in the division with a 40–21–15 record and advanced to the Conference Finals, losing to the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games."

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I think the Blues will win the division. Preds will be 2nd. The Wings and Hawks will fight it out for 3rd and the Blue Jackets will finish 30th.

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I am going to hold off on my predictions until the seasons actually starts because each of these teams still could make a few moves that could help or hurt them. But seriously Detroit yes they got slightly worse but so did most everyone else in the division.

Edited by IllinoisRedWingsFan

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I am going to hold off on my predictions until the seasons actually starts because each of these teams still could make a few moves that could help or hurt them. But seriously Detroit yes they got slightly worse but so did mot everyone else in the division.

I don't see how, Chicago and St. Louis are the same or slightly better than last year. Additionally, Columbus got better...not that it matters much. Detroit and Nashville are the only teams that regressed, and even then, three points separated Detroit, Nashville, and Chicago. I've made my predictions about how things will turn out, and obviously I could be wrong, but I think it's a fallacy to suggest that every team in the division got worse along with us.

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I don't see how St. Louis got worse or Chicago. Like mentioned us, Nashville and Chicago all finished within 5 points of eachother. Us and Nashville I think have regressed. But even with how bad Chicago's goaltending and defense situation's are, their star core players are a bit younger than ours. And Toews like Dats is a game changer if healthy.

Edited by St. Michael (the Red Wing)

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I don't see how St. Louis got worse or Chicago. Like mentioned us, Nashville and Chicago all finished within 5 points of eachother. Us and Nashville I think have regressed. But even with how bad Chicago's goaltending and defense situation's are, their star core players are a bit younger than ours. And Toews like Dats is a game changer if healthy.

There's that word. hahahah

Chicago and St. Louis have basically the same team as last year. I doubt that St. Louis will be as good. IMO, they were playing over their head. Working your asses off to make up for mediocre talent will only get you so far. I expect them to be not as good.

The Wings and Nashville both got slightly worse. I think now the division is wide open except for Columbus who IMO will not recover from losing Nash.

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